I would love to know where the saying “sleeping like a baby” came from. When your newborn goes into toddler stage you will just pray for four straight hours of sleep. I am no professional when it comes to this, but having a kid myself I know what has worked for us and what hasn’t. I also learned to ask a lot of questions and want to share what I have learned with all of you.
Tips for Getting Your Kids to Bed without Fits:
My son is a cute little guy, but he is full of energy and never wants to sleep. In fact, I literally have to force him to stop moving and sit still. If I can get him to stay awake until after lunch, he will usually go right to sleep. That’s during the day at nap time where he usually sleeps 2-3 hours. At night is a different story. He never wants to go to bed, and no matter how many times we put him to bed he would always get up. It would even turn into MASSIVE fits. I could not figure anything out and my wife and I would always relent and allow him to sleep with us. (Which is the wrong thing to do, by the way!) It took a little while, but we finally figured things out. We now have a happy little guy who will sleep in his room at night, and I am going to share with you all of the things I did to help our family enjoy bedtime a little more.
Tips for Bedtime:
One of the biggest things I had to do was create an organized schedule. That doesn’t always work when you have kids that have different sports and you are going here and there. However, if you and your significant other can work together, a schedule is one of the best things to start with. For instance, we read, swim, play and do other activities during the day. Around 1:00 we put him down for a nap where he will usually sleep for about 2-3 hours. He wakes up around 4:00 and we will play with his cars or animals and enjoy being together. Dinner is usually when I get home from work around 5:30 pm and we always sit and eat together. Then we walk around the neighborhood to get our Fitbit steps in and talk about our day. Home by about 7:30, have quiet time and get ready for bed. We then warm up a bottle, give him his blankie and have family prayers.
Tips for leaving the Bedroom:
This was the sticking point that we had trouble with. Every time I left his room, he would throw a fit and scream like a velociraptor. He always knew that we were up, watching our favorite TV shows and didn’t want to miss out on anything. We tried night lights, we tried sound machines and nothing would do the trick. (However, those are all great tips to try during your bedtime journey).
If none of those options work for you, then try what finally worked for us. We kept our normal organized routine, but made just a few changes that have really saved us. Now when I leave his room, I let him scream for a bit. If he doesn’t calm down so I will go in there, hold him and rock him back and forth. It didn’t matter how many times I had to go in the and rock him in my arms, I never gave in and just brought him out with us or let him in our room again. It worked! (It may not have taken so long if we had not given in so many times before. But lets face it, sometimes when we are exhausted and we know they will sleep if they sleep with us, we cave).
The next night we did the same routines and he screamed again, but this time he only screamed for a little once before he fell asleep.
By the third night he was still screaming, but he would fall asleep much faster than before, and all without fit throwing like before. What was the difference?
- not giving in and just letting him stay with us
You may not have to go through all of these ideas, and hopefully something simpler like the first suggestions will work. However, if all else fails, put on your armor and stick to the plan. It may drive you crazy for the first few days and you may be tempted to cave, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you will be successful. Just don’t give in!
I hope these little tips and suggestions work as well for you as they did for our family. Here’s hoping that now that we have been through this with him, number two will be much easier.